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At the end of our interview with Ellen Page and Evan Rachel Wood for their new post-apocalyptic drama Into the Forest, we had a chance to ask Wood about Westworld, the new HBO series coming in October from Jonathan Nolan (The Dark Knight Rises) and J.J. Abrams (Star Wars: The Force Awakens). Production of the series has had its share of secrecy and problems (it was even shut down at one point for some creative retooling), but now that it’s coming out the first trailer we’ve seen looks dazzling.
The show is said to be “a dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the future of sin," and Wood could barely contain her enthusiasm when we asked her about it: “I knew it was going to be an incredible show when I signed on, but it has surpassed my expectations," she said. "Yes, it has amazing production value and special effects, and the cinematography is amazing and the cast is amazing. But what’s really blown me away is the writing. I mean it is on another level. The layers of the show, it’s really going to be a feast for the eyes and the mind. And it’s something that you just keep peeling away things. I don’t even know how to explain it. But I can assure people that it’s going to deliver and more.”
The original movie was about an amusement park of the future divided into three regions – Westworld, Medieval World and Roman World – where androids programmed to play characters in each environment revolt against their human masters. While some of that may be retained in Nolan’s version, Wood said there’s much more going on. “When you think you know what’s going on and you have a handle on things, there’s so much more than you realize,” she hinted. “The picture is much, much bigger than just a theme park gone wrong. It’s a comment on humanity. It’s a glimpse into the future. And it’s really exploring that in a way that we haven’t quite seen.”
As the trailer has revealed, Wood is playing an android – or a host as they are called in the series – calling it “my favorite character I’ve ever played, the most complex.” She added, “What was cool about working on this was we got to create a world in the first season. And we got to be a part of creating a tone in these characters in how they moved and how they think, what they would do, how they react. I think the thing that really is unsettling about it is how you can’t tell the difference until there’s these slight shifts or these subtle things and the eyes twitch or something. It’s really jarring.”